I BOUGHT the iDrive for my 2005 Hilux around six months ago (they have since changed the name to Ultimate 9) and I paid full retail from my local 4WD shop. Right off the bat, I have been suitably impressed with its function and versatility.
First up, no, an iDrive doesn’t give you more power, it’s a throttle controller. It allows you to change the sensitivity of your throttle to suit a variety of terrain or conditions. No, you can’t just press your foot down farther or quicker to do the same thing either, as the vehicle’s computers are smarter than your foot – the iDrive acting as an adjustable interface between your foot and said computers.
SECOND OPINION: iDRIVE throttle controller
There are three modes: AC, E and U (Auto, Economy and Ultimate, with E and U having nine stages of adjustment). With the smallest amount of experimenting, you’ll quickly work out what works best for you.
Installation was a snap, literally! Unclip the throttle control cables from the accelerator pedal, clip in the iDrive, reattach the factory cables, and run the unit to your dash. If it takes you five minutes, I’d be surprised. Just make sure you wipe down your dash with Prepsol or something similar before sticking the unit in place.
I found that after I did a custom dyno tune on the Hilux, the iDrive really woke it up. I played with the settings religiously, and found for on-road driving the sweet spot is U3 or U4 in Ultimate mode. The AC mode is automatic, and I can see the point of having the unit do all the work for you.
For me, it wasn’t hard to find the sweet spot and it has stayed on U3 or U4 ever since when on-road or sand driving.
Another huge benefit of the iDrive was using Eco Mode when off-road. This dulled down the throttle response, making the otherwise twitchy Hilux feel like an old Range Rover Classic – E5 seems to do the trick. It’s really handy, especially for those who reverse trailers and need a forgiving throttle. If your vehicle feels like its lagging down low when trying to take off from a set of lights and so on, the iDrive will help here, too, but again it doesn’t give you any more power.
For $265, I think it is money well spent. I hear people saying you shouldn’t need one if you have a custom engine tune, and I see that point. However, having this degree of versatility at your fingertips is pretty damn powerful.
Any negatives? Well, some people have told me they find the screen bright when driving at night, but this doesn’t bother me. And if you are creative in mounting the unit in a place that is accessible but out of the way, it’s a non-issue.
Easy install and provides the correct throttle response for most driving styles, situations and terrain.